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Can Germany Be Saved?: The Malaise of the World's First Welfare State

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  • Hans-Werner Sinn

    ()
    (Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Abstract

What has happened to the German economic miracle? Rebuilding from the rubble and ruin of two world wars, Germany in the second half of the twentieth century recaptured its economic strength. High-quality German-made products ranging from precision tools to automobiles again conquered world markets, and the country experienced stratospheric growth and virtually full employment. Germany (or West Germany, until 1989) returned to its position as the economic powerhouse of Europe and became the world's third-largest economy after the United States and Japan. But in recent years growth has slowed, unemployment has soared, and the economic unification of eastern and western Germany has been mishandled. Europe's largest economy is now outperformed by many of its European neighbors in per capita terms. In Can Germany Be Saved?, Hans-Werner Sinn, one of Germany's leading economists, takes a frank look at his country's economic problems and proposes welfare- and tax-reform measures aimed at returning Germany to its former vigor and vitality. Germany invented the welfare state in the 1880s when Bismarck introduced government-funded health insurance, disability insurance, and pensions; the German system became a model for other industrialized countries. But, Sinn argues, today's German welfare state has incurred immense fiscal costs and destroyed economic incentives. Unemployment has become so lucrative that the private sector, already under pressure from international low-wage competitors, has increasing difficulties in paying sufficiently attractive wages. Sinn traces many of his country's economic problems to an increasingly intractable conflict between Germany's welfare state and the forces of globalization. Can Germany Be Saved? (an updated English-language version of a German bestseller) asks the hard questions--about unions, welfare payments, tax rates, the aging population, and immigration--that all advanced economies need to ask. Its answers, and its call for a radical rethinking of the welfare state, should stir debate and discussion everywhere.

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Bibliographic Info

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This book is provided by The MIT Press in its series MIT Press Books with number 0262512602 and published in 2009.

Volume: 1
Edition: 1
ISBN: 0-262-51260-2
Handle: RePEc:mtp:titles:0262512602

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Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu

Related research

Keywords: welfare; Germany;

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Cited by:
  1. Werner Bönte & Oliver Falck & Stephan Heblich, 2007. "Demography and Innovative Entrepreneurship," CESifo Working Paper Series 2115, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Luigi Bonatti & Andrea Fracasso, 2013. "The German Model and the European Crisis," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(6), pages 1023-1039, November.
  3. Giancarlo Corsetti & Michael P. Devereux & John Hassler & Gilles Saint-Paul & Hans-Werner Sinn & Jan-Egbert Sturm & Xavier Vives, 2011. "Chapter 3: Greece," EEAG Report on the European Economy, CESifo Group Munich, CESifo Group Munich, vol. 0, pages 97-125, 02.
  4. David B. Audretsch & Oliver Falck & Stephan Heblich, 2007. "It’s All in Marshall: The Impact of External Economies on Regional Dynamics," CESifo Working Paper Series 2094, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Antonin Rusek, 2013. "Quo Vadis, Europa," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 381-397, November.
  6. Rüdiger Waldkirch & Matthias Meyer & Karl Homann, 2009. "Accounting for the Benefits of Social Security and the Role of Business: Four Ideal Types and Their Different Heuristics," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, Springer, vol. 89(3), pages 247-267, November.
  7. Egelhoff, William & Frese, Erich, 2009. "Understanding managers' preferences for internal markets versus business planning: A comparative study of German and U.S. managers," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 77-91, March.

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